“The Race was regarded as one of the most imaginative engineering feats in the world at the time."

Over 20 years ago RDRML commissioned Glenys Hopkinson to research and write the history of The Race. Glenys’s perspective was unique, at 23 years of age she moved to the Montalto camp in July 1938 to set up home with her husband Bill, a dragline driver at Klondyke.

Foreword – Locals talk about “The Race” with great passion, nostalgia and admiration.

The Rangitata Diversion Race is the pride and joy of farmers and other locals in Mid Canterbury in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island.

Farmers, who watched its construction from the 1930s, and men, who worked on building it, retain close emotional ties with it.

This history looks for answers as to why an irrigation scheme has come to hold such a special place in their hearts and minds and a permanent place in local folklore.

It also examined why The Race was regarded as one of the most imaginative engineering feats in the world at the time, describing its construction, size, agricultural and economic impact and its future potential.

Copies of Glenys Hopkinson’s book are available at the Ashburton Museum plus a scanned copy is available here